Oct 26, 2022

What Skills Do You Need to Be an Email Marketing Specialist?

Written by Clodagh O’Brien

There’s an email boom in full swing. Companies across the world are rediscovering the power of email marketing as cookies are on their way out and customers expect more personalized and relevant messaging.

Since 2017 the number of emails being sent and received every day has grown, according to Statista, from 269 billion to a projected 376 billion in 2025. That just shows the scale of emails arriving in inboxes.  

It may be easy to create and send an email. But what companies need are email marketing specialists that can write great email copy, create lifecycle flows, conduct A/B tests, and automate strategically.

As businesses and customers have become more complex, so has the role and function of email marketing. Let’s explore the different jobs (including average salaries) and see what skills you need to succeed. 

Email Marketing Specialist

An email marketing specialist is an all-rounder for everything email. They work with email automation software to send out email blasts and newsletters and create workflows that nurture leads and retain customers. 

The duties of an email marketing specialist can vary. Below are some key ones.

  • Segment and manage email lists
  • Purge and audit email lists
  • Write email copy
  • A/B test emails 
  • Derive insights from email data
  • Create complex workflows and trigger campaigns
  • Optimize sign-ups and opt-ins
  • Edit and create email templates
  • Develop email marketing strategies

The most common term for an email marketer is email marketing specialist, but there are other roles that focus on getting valuable insights from CRM platforms, analytics, automation and technology, particularly in larger companies with bigger teams.  

Salary range - In the United States, the average salary for an email marketing specialist (depending on experience) is $59,159 according to Glassdoor data

CRM Executive/Manager/Lead/Consultant

A Customer Relationship Executive or Manager is responsible for attracting and retaining customers. They should fully understand the sales funnel to engage customers with the right information at the right point in their journey and encourage repeat purchases. 

In this role, you need to not only understand the customer but also the business so you can align your CRM strategies with key goals and objectives. Some of the duties of a CRM executive or manager are to:

  • Update accounts and details on the CRM system
  • Align the marketing and sales functions
  • Build workflows to streamline sales and marketing
  • Use the CRM to create an effective sales funnel 
  • Track metrics and derive actionable insights
  • Track customer interactions and conversations

The day-to-day tasks can vary depending on the type of business you work in and the clients you deal with. This role can be particularly valuable for B2B companies that require an effective nurturing workflow. 

Salary range - In the United States, the salary for a CRM Manager is between $49,203 to $63,171 (dependent on experience) according to Salary.com

“Email marketing is one of those channels that’s been around for a very long time. But it's changed a lot, and our use of it hasn't necessarily kept up with that pace of change. More than ever, marketers are trying to engage with all of their buyers and customers online,” said Caitlin Seele, Head of Marketing at Drift in our podcast

“They want to get in front of and directly to their target customer as much as they can, and email's a great channel for that, because it goes exactly to your desired recipient, at that right moment of intent,” Seele continues.

CRM & Analytics Executive/Manager/Lead/Consultant

This email marketing role focuses on analytics from the CRM and sales cycle. It involves managing customer analytics, generating insights, and executing automated campaigns. 

The role of analytics is key here to help the company understand behavioral and transactional data to build effective customer and prospect journeys. It also helps to manage customer profitability, campaign results, and customer experience. 

Knowledge of automation tools is crucial as is a deep understanding of analytics. You will also require problem-solving and analytical thinking skills. 

Salary range - The salary for a CRM Business Data Analyst is between $95,134 to $123,856 (depending on experience) according to Salary.com

CRM Campaign Executive/Manager/Lead/Consultant

A CRM Campaign Executive or Manager can effectively manage your email campaigns. It requires someone to understand the rationale for every email campaign and plan and execute it to deliver business results. 

The role requires collaboration and communication to ensure the campaign delivers for marketing and sales. There’s also a creative and copywriting element to help devise campaigns that are eye-catching, personalized, and relevant to your buyer personas. 

It’s also important to have an eye on the bottom line as a campaign executive or manager. Budget management is crucial to delivering on KPIs and the highest ROI possible. 

Salary range - The average salary for a CRM Campaign Executive is $56,143 in the U.S. according to Glassdoor

Marketing Automation Specialist

As automated marketing campaigns (think, trigger workflows) become more important to engage and convert email subscribers, Marketing Automation Specialists are in demand.

The goal of an automation specialist is to deliver the right piece of content to the right people at the right time. This should all tie into your marketing or sales funnel to provide information to people depending on their journey. 

For example, if they have interacted with your company but have been quiet for some time, see if a free ebook on a particular subject they have shown interest in may drive engagement. 

Some of the tasks of an automation specialist are to:

  • Create automated campaigns and workflows including trigger campaigns
  • Devise A/B tests to assess performance and trial content
  • Interpret analytics to get insights to drive email performance 
  • Help create landing pages and post on social media
  • Devise and implement lead scoring
  • Project and campaign management

Salary range - A Marketing Automation Specialist earns a range between $57,000 to $77,750 in the United States according to Zippia.  

Marketing Tech Specialist

A Marketing Technology Specialist implements digital marketing strategies by using several technologies including web analytics software, email marketing platforms, and social media management tools. 

Some of the responsibilities in this role are to: 

  • Define target audiences and develop relevant email campaigns
  • Research new technologies to optimize existing processes or identify new opportunities
  • Analyze customer and industry data to improve sales and retention 
  • Link in with events and PR activities to drive engagement
  • Identify new market segments and customer preferences

Salary range - A Marketing Tech Specialist can earn between $57,007 to $70,063 in the United States according to Salary.com.   

Now that you know some of the email marketing jobs in demand, let’s look at the skills required to become an email marketer. 

What are the top email marketing skills?

While there are many roles you can consider, the skills required as an email marketing specialist lay a great foundation for each one. Then you can specialize or hone your skills as you gain more experience or move up the ladder.  

1) List building, cleaning and auditing

Email marketers need to understand lists. They have to have a working knowledge of CRM systems to build lists that are segmented into groups that can be targeted with messaging that’s relevant to them. 

The ‘health or ‘hygiene’ of a list is crucial. There is no point in having a list of 10,000 people if only 1,000 engage with you. That would indicate that these emails are not relevant to people or not driving them to open. So it’s time to clean your list and keep in touch with those who do respond and will purchase.  

You should also be able to audit lists regularly. This will prevent emails from being listed as spam by algorithms and wasting your time and money contacting people with little or no intent to purchase.  

You should also keep up-to-date with the latest data privacy laws in different regions and countries to ensure you are compliant. 

2) Copywriting

It’s easy to write an email, but tough to write a good email. The right message and content are crucial in an email. After all, you only have so much space to grab a recipient’s attention with an email. 

Good copywriting comes from understanding the audience. If you know what they need and want, it's easy to write an email that drives open rates. It’s not just about the written content either, you need to think about imagery, CTAs and subject lines. 

It’s also important to conduct split or A/B testing so you can see what people respond to. That could be testing a subject line or CTA or even pitching one email for another. 

Check out our email and copywriting checklist to get some guidance. 

3) Campaign management

This skill is crucial for any email marketer and it doesn’t just apply to being able to manage and execute campaigns. It goes deeper than that. 

A great email marketer will understand lifecycle campaigns which include those activated by a trigger. Identifying those triggers helps to bring people to the next stage of their purchasing journey seamlessly. 

For example, put yourself in the shoes of a prospect or customer. When they first engage with a brand what do they receive as an initial email? Is there a follow-up email and when does that happen? You need to see the gaps in communication and fill them with relevant and personalized information that can move them nearer to purchasing. 

4) Data analysis

The best email marketers love data. Understanding the data is what helps to optimize the performance of email campaigns and workflows to increase open rate and click-through. 

There are two types of analytics email marketers care about: performance metrics like open and conversion rates and demographic or behavioral data which gives insight into gender, location and preferences. 

With personalization becoming ever more important, data can help a business to understand what content prompts people to take an action. It’s about collecting data points to understand a customer and their motivations better to tailor email content to that.

It’s also important to keep on top of trends that may impact your email marketing activities such as hyper-personalization or the role of AI in marketing automation

5) Automation

Email marketers need to leverage automation to deliver emails at scale. This is done by using rules to trigger messages and personalize the content based on specific actions customers take.

Think about someone subscribing to a newsletter. When they join they should get a welcome message and by their action be enrolled in a ‘Welcome’ series of emails. This will mean that the content is related to an action taken and brings them through a journey to drive engagement and conversions. 

Automation is also useful for existing customers. You can schedule regular emails to keep them up-to-date with the business or give them exclusive offers. It’s also good for promoting blogs or new content to drive them to a website or custom landing page.  

Become an effective email marketer

A successful email marketer combines creativity with data to create effective campaigns that drive engagement. DMI’s short Email Marketing course will help you understand the fundamentals of email marketing from data strategy to content creation. You will also explore A/B or split testing, email optimization, and automation. 

Clodagh O’Brien
Clodagh O’Brien

Clodagh O'Brien is a content creator and strategist. Over the last 12 years, she has created and managed content for many SMEs and global brands. She's passionate about digital marketing and the impact of technology on culture and society. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.  

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